Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Room sharing: what to do?

Here is a lesser-known fact about me: I am an only child.


I am mother to five, almost seven (!), children, and I have nary a sibling.

People make lots of assumptions about you when you're an only child.  I cannot tell you the number of times I was asked growing up, "Do your parents buy you everything you want?" (um, NO!  Bummer!), or was told "Welllllll, you don't SEEM like an only child" (and what DOES an only child "seem" like?  Gosh, people are rude.)  I actually think people were skeptical of my character or something because I didn't have any brothers or sisters to teach me how to be a civilized, humane citicizen.  Blech.

Funny thing is, times have changed, even from the eighties, which is when I was growing up.  NOW, I think if you decided to stop after having only one child, you'd get fewer weirdo comments than the person having three or four children.  Maybe not, I don't know, I guess I'll NEVER know since the we're-only-having-one-child ship has long since sailed away from here.

Oh and do NOT assume that my having so many children has anything to do with having grown up a sad, "lonely only".  I was neither sad NOR lonely.  I had a great childhood.  I have a great relationship with my parents.  No regrets.

So.  On to more important business.  The first time I ever shared a bedroom with someone was in college, in the dorm.  I thought it was so awesome to have a roommate, and it really was.  I shared a room the following year too, but my junior year went back to having my own room.  Then I got married, and ever since then I have shared my room with a boy.

Anyway, my kids share rooms currently, all except Mary, because she of course is awakened the easiest, so she has her own room.  Anna shares with Kaitlyn, and Yosef shares with Biniam (they however are SO the odd couple.  Really.  If they ever decide to remake that old show my sons will star in it for sure.)  They all, for the most part, love sharing rooms.  If one of the girls is sick and sleeps on the floor in our room, the other girl is SO SAD.  "IIIIII'mmmmm LONElllyyyyyyyyyy", she'll declare.  It's really the sweetest thing ever.  I love that every.single.night. at my house is like a mini (or not so mini, good grief we have five kids) slumber party.  Each of the kids feels so safe and cozy with a brother or sister keeping them awake sleeping sweetly in the bed next to theirs.  So, so precious.

But as you know, we have two new girls joining our family in the next several months.  Which means there will be some shuffling around of rooms in our five-bedrooms-for-nine-people home.  (I quickly want to say that this house is MORE than big enough for our soon to be family of nine.  Truly.  We are so blessed to have so much, when we think about the rest of the world or about the impoverished in our own country.  We want for nothing.)

I honestly am not sure WHAT we'll do.  T. is roughly Mary's age, so it would make the most sense for them to share.  M. is around Kaitlyn's age...but...Katilyn shares with Anna.  I don't know if I really WANT to split up Kaitlyn and Anna.  And give Anna her own room.  It would make good sense for a lot of reasons (Kaitlyn is such a night-owl and Anna, while she was at Kaitlyn's age, is so not now.  There would also be no more than two children per bedroom, which is nice too.)  BUT, we'd lose our guestroom.  AND, Anna would have her own room.  No more sharing with sweet Katie Jane.  That makes me so sad for some reason!  These girls have shared a room ever since we moved to Denver.  Prior to that, when Kaitlyn was a baby, Anna would beg, BEG, to share a room with her younger sister.  So it has been such a special thing.

But we have an odd number of girls we're working with here and I'm honestly not certain of what we'll do.  The other options are to:

--Stick Mary, T., and M. all in one room (the one that has a huge closet) just for now, and later divide them up.  Anna and Kaitlyn would continue sharing and we'd keep our guestroom.

--Get bunkbeds and put Anna, Kaitlyn and M. all in one room, and have a room for "the babies" (Mary and T.)  Guestroom remains as is.

--Move to a house with ten bedrooms.

Haha.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

I honestly do love the idea of kids sharing rooms.  On the other hand our guestroom does sit empty most of the time.  (Hint, hint California friends, come visit!  :) )  But yeah, I don't know.  Hoping after we meet our girls that inspiration will strike and we can get things in order before they actually come home!

And none of this matters THAT much anyway because M. and T. will both sleep in our room in the beginning anyhow.  They are so cute and I cannot WAIT to have them here, sleeping soundly in their beds.

I'm just trying to plan ahead. 

Because you do these sorts of things when you're waiting on a court date to bring your sixth and seventh children home!


Heather Hernandez said...

Well, as the oldest of five children and a lifelong room sharer :), I say do not give Anna her own room. My parents tried to give me the "privelege" of this and all I did every night was creep into my sister's bed and hang off the edge to avoid loneliness LOL I hated it!

I would say put the "babies" in one room and the "big girls" in the other. The only exception would be if T. and M. have already been sharing a room and might be comforted by remaining together. If that's not a consideration, I think that age is a great way to lump kids together in a big family :) In my family, the age groups have blended in adulthood (no more big kids and little kids) but when we were younger, I was definitely closer to my sister who was 3 yrs younger (while my other sister was 9 years younger). We've caught up since childhood, like I said, but it really is fun to share similar life experiences after the lights go out rather than the big girls having no "big kid" time during the day. Those are my two cents :)

Claudia said...

I'm second of 10 kids. I shared a room until I was about 11yrs when my parents finished the attic into two bedrooms and a bath. I never knew there was such a thing as a guest room until I was at least in high school.
I'd say let your kids who live in your house 24/7 have the guestroom. Seriously, why do you need to save a room for someone who only stays there occasionally?
When you do have guests just move kids around for the few days they are visiting. The kids will like the sleepover fun of staying with different siblings for a little while.

Monica said...

I agree with the PP, I wouldn't give A her own room. Eventually, it will cause some biterness. I'd probably put the babies together and the older girls together. At least until they're all older and you can configure rooms better by personality type.

What a fun problem to have! ;)

Mean Mama said...

I started out as number 3 of 7 kids. 4 girls in one room and 3 boys in one room. Then my family was split and I was adopted with one sister. We each had our own room at that point. For a while we opted to share a room.

My daughter is an only child so she has her own room. 99 out of 100 nights she will crawl in bed with me -- and she has been home for over 4 years now. She would kill for a sister. And when I tell her she would have to share a room she smiles with glee.

I say use all your rooms. Make them share. Keep it fluid -- willing to move it around as things adjust. And let them know when people come to visit the kids may be displaced for a night or two.

Shana said...

We also don't have a guest room, and our kids love giving up "their" rooms for company.

Cat said...

When our 5th came home we had the 3 oldest girls in one room (we only have 3 bedrooms). It was TIGHT, but it was super-important. The girls really bonded quickly and liked the company. Later when we "made" a 4th bedroom and finally gave the boy his own room for privacy reasons, it was easier to split up the 3-some. I say go with the 3 older girls in one room, at least for awhile! :) What a fun decision to make though.

Samantha said...

We have a "boy" room, a "girl" room and a nursery. Babies stay in the nursery until they are kicked out by a new one. Bennett has his own room only because he is the only boy. Hopefully there will be a boy or two in there to share with him one day. We like to keep a guest room even for local friends that might need a place for a night or two. At least we can offer it to them. It serves as a nice place to go if hubby happens to be snoring too.

shell said...

we have 7 in a 3 bedroom house. we have the 3 older boys in the master bedroom and ben and anna share another room. eventually ben will move in with the boys, two sets of bunks. my kids would HATE to not have a sibling in their room. for the year before we moved here, anna cried every night that she was all alone. :) the guest room goes either way-we have constant company and i hate sending them to a couch or we stick all 5 kids in the master. they LOVE it. :)

Lori Powers said...

My 4 have always had to share and I'm not sure any of them would like to have their own room at this point. Right now our 2 older girls have a bunk bed and the 2 littles (boy 3 and girl 2) share the other room. Eventually, the boy will have his own room and the 3 girls will all share, all of our kids are so close in age that I'm not sure how to give one of the girls her own room, so if we ever do get our guest room back (grandma lives with us too) I think it will stay a guest room

Jana said...

I'm just glad to hear you're adding to the family!

darci said...

oh that is hard for sure. I think I would keep Anna and Katelyn together..that sounds like such a sweet relationship. We decided (as we are leaving our BIG house to downsize a lot to pay for OUR adoption :) that we wouldn't be buying for guests..we LOVE having guests, but for the number of nights they're actually around..not worth it. So, have you considered a murphy bed? super expensive to buy, super cheap to's just built into the wall, looks like a you can use the room for kiddos or whatever and just fold out your full guest bed..anyway good luck!

Brian & Rachel Davis said...

Good luck! We would like to have a guest room so that there would be somewhere for the kiddo to go who is not sleeping when they're supposed to be sleeping... but they're fussing or playing... just generally being disruptive. :-) But then, not having a guest bedroom isn't such a big deal - your kids would have fun making room for guests, I bet!

We're going to have 3 kids in our 2-bedroom house here pretty soon. Wonder what we'll do when we get to four? Move, maybe. Depends on if it's girls or boys. Happy planning!

Shannon said...

I say don't put Anna in her own room, since she enjoys being with her sister.

Here's the options I'd think of:

1. If T and M and closely bonded and you think they would benefit from being in the same room together, put T, M and Mary in a room and leave Anna and Kaitlyn in theirs.

2. I have heard of some larger families saying it's a big help to have one "older" child per bedroom to help and keep tabs on things. So maybe Anna and M. Then Kaitln, Mary and T. Or some variation of that?

Kristen Borland said...

Ahhh!!! This is so exciting!!!!

Just wanted to let you know how Mike's family did it: 6 boys in 3 sets of bunkbeds in ONE room, and 1 girl in 1 double bed (with a canopy!!!) in her OWN room with her OWN bathroom. No joke! Later it became 4 boys in two bunkbeds in one room, 2 boys (number 1 and number 5, which was Mike) in 1 bunk in another room, and 1 girl in 1 double bed/canopy in her OWN room with her OWN bathroom. It still astonishes me, but, honestly, what are you going to do when you only have 1 girl and 6 boys?

If Lola had been a boy, we would have put all three of them in one room, with bunkbeds. As it is, our boys are in bunkbeds because they are super fun and take up less space.

So excited for you guys!

Gina said...

I am really not the most educated on this, being an only child as well. Since all the kids are fairly close in age how about having all the girls share one room (once they move out of your room) and the boys in the other? You could get the girls bunk beds. Especially, since all of them are already used to sharing rooms and fairly close in age, I think it might promote sibling bonds.

Blessed said...

Hi Brianna!

I am just now discovering your blog, and feeling instant connection with you on so many levels (you have been from CO to CA for the holidays--we just went the other way, from CA to CO!) and it has been really fun sitting and reading through your blog when I should really be doing all the coming-home-after-weeks-away stuff (like laundry!). We homeschool, we have a family of 4 which out here in CA is considered a BIG family--so I was just grinning at your "how do you do it?" post--and I too love thrift stores, but clearly don't work my finds as well as you do. (Seriously, your "What I wore" series is great.) But it was this post that prompted me to actually leave a comment--we live in a very expensive area of CA and can afford only a teeny tiny house, which has been compared to third-world living by some of our extended family. ; )

ANYWAY--I just wanted to tell you that because we only have a half bedroom, all our kids are in it together. (My husband and I have our bed in the living room, and call it the "master suite"--during the day our bed is the "sofa" and yes, company does sit on it!) So in the tiny bedroom there is a bunkbed, and the three girls sleep on the top bunk. Where the bottom bunk would go we have a crib for our youngest, the boy. We are hoping to get to build some creative bunks this year, so the children are not so cramped, but so far they are all troopers about it--and in fact, have never known anything else. (They are 10, 7, 5, and 2)

So, all this just by way of encouragement: if my three girls are happy sharing a bed, I definitely think your girls will be happy sharing three to a room. : ) In fact, I would not leave one girl out on her own--sharing is so healthy and positive!

I will be blogging about our own living arrangements this next month, so please feel free to stop by if you are curious!

In the meantime, Merry Christmas (is it ever too late?) and Happy New Year!


P.S. When I was in college I so wanted to name a daughter Brianna someday. And call her "Bree" for short. Of course I changed my mind by the time I was ready to have kids, but I still love the name!


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